Overview

The following country profile is found in the Meister Consultants Group study: Floating Houses and Mosquito Nets: Emerging Climate Change Adaptation Strategies Around the World.

Summary

One of the major challenges facing Australia is the rising number of droughts, which affect agriculture as well as the unique biodiversity of the country. Australia‘s vulnerability to the consequences of climate change was exposed when dramatic droughts in 2002 and 2003 hit large parts of the country. In response, the Australian government passed a National Climate Change Adaptation Framework in 2007. The framework includes a range of concrete measures, including training programs for those occupational groups most affected by climate change. The individual Australian states have also started to prepare for climate change (p. 56).

  • National Communication (NC)

  • Contribute to the ALM: Submit an Assessment

    This is the latest in a series of reports that the Australian Government has submitted to the UNFCCC. It presents Australia’s comprehensive strategy to address the challenge of climate change and reflects the considerable progress made since the submission of its Fourth National Communication in 2005.

    Key Vulnerabilities
    • Water resources and supply
    • Coasts
    • Infrastructure
    • Agriculture/Food Security
    • Iconic and productive natural systems
    • Public Health
    Potential Adaptation Measures
    • Biodiversity and natural ecosystems

    The Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative is jointly administered by two Australian Government departments: Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. This initiative, which began in July 2008, is aimed at achieving an environment that is healthier, better protected, well managed, resilient, and provides essential ecosystem services in a changing climate. Caring for our Country encourages the adoption of sustainable land management practices that slow land degradation processes and increase the resilience of farms and agricultural landscapes to the effects of climate change.

    • Coastal zones

    The Australian Government provided $8.9 million, as part of its Climate Change Adaptation Program, to fund the Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Action Plan, a five-year program designed to develop and test strategies that will give the Great Barrier Reef, and those who depend upon it, the best chance of coping with climate change. The plan identifies strategies for direct actions and partnerships that will increase the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef to climate change. It focuses on actions that can be taken to help minimise impacts on the Reef’s ecosystem, industries such as tourism, commercial and recreational fishing, and regional communities.

    • Settlements and infrastructure

    The Australian Government initiated a $1.5 million Integrated Assessment of Human Settlements program in 2006 to enhance the capacity of local governments to identify climate change risks and develop responses. This program consisted of five national research projects around Australia— Western Port (Victoria), Sydney Coastal Councils (New South Wales), Clarence City (Tasmania), Gold Coast (Queensland) and a separate broader project focusing on Bendigo, Cooma, Queanbeyan/ Australian Capital Territory and Darwin. All projects have been completed. The New South Wales, Victorian, Queensland, Tasmanian, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory governments and a number of local government bodies were partners to these projects.

    • Emergency management

    In October 2009, the Australian Government released Climate Change and Emergency Management: National Adaptation Research Plan, which identifies critical gaps in the information needed by decision makers in the emergency management sector, sets research priorities based on those gaps, and identifies capacity that could be harnessed to conduct priority research. At the same time, the Government also announced grants totalling $2 million to address identified research priorities in emergency management.

    • Agriculture

    The Australian Government is currently conducting a comprehensive national review of drought policy in recognition that the current arrangements may no longer be the most appropriate in the context of a changing climate. The review, which includes three separate assessments of the climatic, social and economic aspects of drought and drought support, will support the development of policies to help farmers and rural communities prepare for and adapt to a changing climate.